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to think that DDs school is obsessed with attendance levels and feel offended?

(250 Posts)
msjones80 Mon 18-Mar-13 00:28:47

DD is in reception and she has been ill several times in the last term. Even though all absences were justified, I recently got a call from the school and the advisor from the council to discuss her absences. They suggested I was maybe being "too soft" and that children her age like to "exaggerate" to stay home and watch telly. I told them I only kept her home when she was clearly unwell (fever, diarrea, vomiting...) or there was a risk for the other children. I also let them know that each day I kept her home was a day lost at work. Still, they said that children sometimes could go to school with a little paracetamol, that that's how they build their immune system, and requested that I keep providing them with evidence whenever she's sick.

Now she's ill once more. She has had high fever (37-39C) since last Wednesay. I took her to the GP but she said they don't do letters, only appointment slips, and that my word should be enough and the school had no legal right to ask for evidence.

AIBU? Isn't is outrageous that the school cares more about attendance levels that the wellbeing of children? Do I have to give them proof everytime she's ill? Has anyone experienced the same?

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 12:05:31

I do think there needs be more understanding with reception and year 1 aged children as they are still quite young and prone to picking up everything. However, the school have a duty to investigate to ensure that the issue is 'only' illness and not more. So, I don't disagree with schools querying low attendance if they are not aware of a medical or health problems. This is because there is a link with low school attendance and other issues. That's not to say that some children are NOT genuinely unwell and off for genuine reasons. As a parent, only you can make the call if your child is ill or not. Some parents will send a clearly unwell child in and some will keep them off for every sneeze. There needs to be a balance but it's all so subjective and it's a tricky subject.

Badvoc Tue 19-Mar-13 11:54:32

Well.
My dc attendance will be fucked this term.
Ds2 rushed to hospital last night with croup.
Ds1 up til 3am when we left so he is not in school again today.
Sigh.

Thingie no-one on this thread has argued that sending a child to school with glandular fever, mumps, tonsillitis, or whooping cough is a good idea. The OP is describing a raised temperature as grounds for keeping a child off school as it may be a pre-cursor to something more serious. This is why people are challenging the OP on this and why the school is clearly trying to encourage her to think differently. I don't think in her case it is about a focus on figures - she is way passed that - I think it is borne out of genuine concern for the educational welfare of her child.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:54:37

That's a real shame for you bob. Can't have been nice at all. sad

My mate is just lame assed though. wink

No idea re the OP.

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 09:52:43

Thingiebob You described quite serious illnesses there. The OP hasn't been that clear but from her description, she seems to keep off for minor viral infections - coughs, colds etc.

Thingiebob Tue 19-Mar-13 09:48:07

I think unless you have a child who is clearly ill all the time, people can be really rude about low attendance levels.

My poor mother had issues with my school attendance all through secondary school. I was continually unwell - weeks off at a time culminating in serious glandular fever. Mumps/tonsilitis/whooping cough all in the first year.

Should she have sent me in? She did once. I fainted in the playground as I was unable to breathe and got rushed home.

I was called a skiver by teachers to my face in front of the rest of the class, teased constantly and had education officers contact my mum. Attendance well below 85 per cent. Anyone care to call my attendance levels 'disgusting'? Go on...

It carried on over into my employment. I am now diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which requires quite a lot of medication and monitoring. I now know this was the problem when I was a child. I am now self-employed as I cannot guarantee my attendance.

All I am saying is if a child is constantly off sick, be careful before you start throwing around accusations and generally being disapproving and rude.
As on OP said further up the thread 'Your child's health is more important than the school's attendance record keeping.'

BigRedBox Tue 19-Mar-13 09:47:34

Lol at sad eyes.

I think the world is divided into people who think that the first signs of anything other than perfect health means down tools and lie down. And sane people who carry on until carrying on is not an option.

You're teaching your child that if she feels anything less than 100% she can stay home. That'll go down well when she's older. I sacked my last nanny for this attitude to work.

My mother was brisk and no-nonsense; she sent us in telling us that if we were really ill we'd get sent home. Never happened though. smile She did keep us home if we were really poorly, but a mild cold or temp was never enough for her.

I do the same to my DCs, but then they rarely get ill, which I know is lucky for us.

yellowhousewithareddoor Tue 19-Mar-13 09:34:32

Yup. She's already said anything 37 and above, a runny nose, a cough or sad eyes are all good reasons!

crashdoll Tue 19-Mar-13 09:31:00

SnowMe It's not about attendance record keeping, (although the OP seems to think this is the only issue in the situation!) it's about how her daughter will suffer if she continues to miss this much school!

I agree with the PP, it is about how ill is too ill?

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:26:12

I won't speak for the OP, but in my friend's case I can't help but think she's setting her kids up for a shock in the adult world. No one but your mother cares if you've got a cold.
Or is it 'upper respiratory tract infection' nowadays? Either way...your boss doesn't care.

Personally I couldn't give a monkeys if my friend likes a skive, and lets her kids stay off school because they have a raging fever of 37.5...it's nothing to do with me. I just let her express her offence at being confronted over their absences, and made vague 'oh dear' and 'mm hmm' noises back at her.

She's convinced it's their problem, so good luck to her.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 09:02:25

The friend I described there is the boss at her work. There's no way she could get away with it otherwise I don't think.

Well the OP has avoided any explanation of her work situation, though she does reference "missed days at work" in her OP. I wonder if she has a boss who is a pushover and therefore keeping her DD off school is a day off work with no consequences for her - bonus! The school now have the audacity to point out that there are consequences for her DD and she is offended.

pictish Tue 19-Mar-13 08:31:18

I dunno...I've got a pal who is off work ill quite often for the most spurious reasons, and she applies it to the kids as well...they are often absent from school for days over silly things like a cold, or similar mild maladies. I know the school have had a word with her about their frequent absences, and she had the same reaction as the OP...was offended and annoyed they would question it.
Dh and I do secretly think she keeps the kids off for nothing though...we thought it wouldn't be long before the school picked up on it. Which they did.

As it's not our place to judge, we would only roll our eyes knowingly at each other and say nothing.

There is a certain type of person who makes more out of illness than there is.

FasterStronger Tue 19-Mar-13 08:07:18

i don't think the OP works. you are more likely to keep your DCs off school if you don't work yourself.

it is one of the reasons children from households where no one works do less well at school.

Bearbehind Tue 19-Mar-13 07:56:26

That's my point faster, an employer doesn't have to put up with it and I'm sure that if the school are concerned about the daughters absence levels, the OPs employers won't be thrilled about it either.

I totally agree with familiessharegerms this kind of behaviour is just encouraging a generation of entitled little princes/ princesses who think the world will bow to their every need and that they can be absent from school/ uni/ work for the slightest thing.

FasterStronger Tue 19-Mar-13 07:38:13

I doubt an employer would have to put up with someone who is not there 10-20% of the time.

if they cannot do the job 20% of the time, they cannot do the job. baring any Disability Act implications, in which case many employers might be sympathetic anyway.

FamiliesShareGerms Tue 19-Mar-13 07:37:31

I reckon the child who stays off school for 15-20% of the time with a variety of sniffles and coughs turns into the university student who can't get themselves along to enough lectures and / or the adult who thinks it's ok to work 80% of the time but get paid 100% of their salary. And is genuinely shocked when they are pulled up on it.

uniqueatlast Tue 19-Mar-13 07:11:40

Sockreturningpixie
Sorry, I was forgetting home educated children. But as you say if they are registered at school, then they have to go and most children are registered at school.

No need for "utter bollocks" though, that was quite rude.

Bearbehind Tue 19-Mar-13 05:41:57

To anyone who's asked about my work - thanks I got that under control, although it's not great when she's sick obviously. And no, I don't think it matters. I could be a SAHM or self employed or own my business or I could work for someone else who'd have to put up with me being at home with her.

I think the bold part of this quote from the OP sums up her pretty high sense of entitlement with all of this- an employer does not just have to put up with a 15 to 20% absence rate which doesn't even include the employees personal illness.

Fine, time off sick for genuine illness but "sad eyes", come on, this little girl is going to grow up knowing that by moping around a bit, she can get time off school whenever she wants it.

Snowme Tue 19-Mar-13 00:47:23

Your child's health is more important than the school's attendance record keeping.

Simple.

End of.

cory Mon 18-Mar-13 23:29:45

It's all right, YFronts; as I said, the school aren't insisting: they're being very good and understanding (not like her last school)

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 22:47:20

cory - tell the school you are happy to provide a letter if the school are willing to pay the GP.

Yfronts Mon 18-Mar-13 22:43:20

There is an illness going round with a week long temp between mostly about 38/39 and slowly spiking to 37. I really don't agree with sending a poorly child into school. A sniffle is fine but some parents are just to selfish to think about the effect their child's illness will have on others.

Your child does not legally have to be in education till the term after his/her 5th birthday. Even then, BY LAW they have to offer a part time table if required during the first year.

It's only the reception year! The most important thing is that the child enjoys school and feels positive about learning aged 4/5. They are only learning basics at this stage. As long as you read with your child a lot at home and encourage an interest in words, your child will keep up with the others. In other European countries, they have a more child centered approach to education and we are far behind in the UK.

Also I think it's quite reasonable to keep an ill child off and only send them back when they almost at full health. Why teach a child to be a marter to work, surely health has to come first? Infecting others is never appreciated and completely selfish.

My son was part time during his reception year and was taken out of school when ill. He is now in year 6 and has excellent attendance and attainment. He is also popular. It was in his best interest to have a gentle lead into school during his reception year. I do after all know what is best for my son.

zzzzz Mon 18-Mar-13 22:24:35

Raised temperature lowers seizure threshold. This means a child with a temperature is far more likely to have a seizure than when well. Paracetamol in the form of calpol is an excellent way of keeping fever at bay and relieving the uncomfortable symptomes of minor illnesses. It is not a good idea to let your child run a fever at all and should be avoided.

Children who are actively unwell should be kept home so they can rest, be more closely monitored and reduce the spread of the illness.

While your child may experience a mild version of an infection the next child may be much more seriously effected. A day or two at home will only impact education if you do nothing to catch up, but it is not that hard to ask what your child has missed and put in some catch up time.

It is totally irresponsible to send a sick child into school, and as for going to a birthday party shock. What a charming present.

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